Work-Life Balance

A Year Later, This 4-Day Workweek Trial Continues To Show Groundbreaking Results

A new report from 4 Day Workweek Global, 12 months into a huge trial program, finds the change has staying power.

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Employee in office leaning back in his chair and smiling.
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New findings from a report by the nonprofit 4 Day Week Global are pointing, once again, to the continued success of the four-day workweek — and to a paradigm shift in how we work.

The nonprofit, which organizes global four-day workweek pilot programs, recently published its fourth report on the success of numerous four-day workweek trials across the globe, and it looks like the tables are turning on the traditional 40-hour/five-day workweek in a major way.

The results, which come after 12 months of observation of the truncated workweek, cement the positive changes seen in previous reports on the program: Increased work-life balance, increase or maintenance of revenue and growth, and decreased turnover, to name a few key outcomes, were not a short-term fluke and could have lasting staying power.

The report examines data collected from employees and employers participating in the organization’s six-month truncated workweek trial programs. Early findings were positive, but given that the standard pilot program is just six months long, this look at the data — 12 months after companies launched their four-day workweek programs — shows longer-term gains.

The results? Employees are happy with spending less time at the office, and employers have not seen any appreciable loss in revenue or growth and, in many cases, have seen increased productivity.

Here are five benefits of the four-day workweek 12 months out, as compared to results at the six-month mark, according to the new report.

1. Retention Has Stayed Up

Companies that continued to use the four-day model after the conclusion of the trial have seen a 15% boost in revenue and an increase in employee retention, with 32% saying they had no intention of leaving their current positions.

“The most profound impact was on employee retention. We’ve seen very few people choose to depart the company since the implementation of our 4-day week. This has dramatically improved our ability to meet objectives and key results every quarter,” explained Kickstarter Chief Strategy Officer John Leland in a statement about the study’s results.

“While we were lucky to hit 70% prior to our pilot, we now hit more than 90%. It’s easy to think that a company might have to sacrifice some ambition to implement a 4-day week, but we have only increased the scale of our ambition since its adoption.”

2. Workers Have No Interest In Returning To A 5 Day Week

Ten percent of employees said they would not return to a five-day work week for any amount of money, while over 30% said it would take a 25% to 50% salary increase to switch back.

3. Stress Levels Are Still Down

Although it would seem that worker stress levels would be through the roof trying to accomplish five days' worth of work in four days, participants say that’s not the case. Instead, employees are working more efficiently instead of more intensely, and both life and job satisfaction numbers remained elevated from baseline figures taken at the program's onset.

4. Job Satisfaction Levels Are Slightly Down — But Not For A Bad Reason

“Life satisfaction scores remained stable with no significant change from the trial’s endpoint to the 12-month mark. However, job satisfaction showed a slight regression after a year,” explained lead researcher Juliet Schor of Boston College, (whose research recently found that people who have 4-day work weeks mostly catch up on sleep). “This suggests the positive effects a 4-day week has on life satisfaction may be more deeply embedded in individuals' overall well-being than in job satisfaction alone. Nonetheless, job satisfaction scores remained higher than baseline.”

5. Workweeks Are Getting Even Shorter

One of the major — and most groundbreaking findings — was that 12 months in, the 4-day workweek is getting even shorter across the board. In fact, the average workweek has dropped almost a full hour from the sixth-month mark of the trial, and many hours overall from the beginning of the pilot program: from 38 to 32.97 hours worked per week.

“We’re delighted to see the positive experience people continue to have with the 4-day week beyond the conclusion of our pilot program. A concern we frequently hear is there’s no way the results from our six-month trials can be maintained, as the novelty eventually must wear off, but here we are a year later with benefits only continuing to grow,” said 4 Day Week Global CEO Dale Whelehan.

“This is very promising for the sustainability of this model, and we look forward to tracking companies’ experiences well into the future.”

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